The recent death of one of the most controversial leaders of the 20th century has been confirmed. Kim Jong-il, the 40-year iron-hand ruler of North Korea has left a legacy of criticism which will long out last most of our lifetimes. He has been often ridiculed as being one of the leaders of the “Axis of Evil”, he’s been the brunt of many entertainment political spoofs on both T.V. & in movies.
However, when you look at this man’s life in context, you can somewhat appreciate his drive to be the sole influence of his nation, ruling by his own rules, something that most world-leaders have not been able to do, nor had the balls to even attempt to do within the last century. Even though North Korea’s greatest political and financial ally, China, had very frequently tried to place its reins upon Kim’s administration, for “rockin’-the-boat” sort-of-speak on the international stage, pertaining to Kim’s insatiable quest for an established nuclear arsenal, you must admit, he’s nobody’s puppet. The aid that China has & is still currently giving North Korea has in no way convinced North Korea to back down from its staunch position to acquire nuclear equal-footing with other nuclear-nations.
He definitely knew how to play the great-game, and he always came out as a winner. As far back as the Clinton years, Kim was a master political chess-player, buying time to stall & manipulate diplomatic visits from the U.S. in particular, with concerns about his provocative nuclear weapons programs, which would obviously translate as trouble for the rest of America’s Asian interests & allies.
Even when Bush, Jr. was in office as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S., he managed to play with the Bush administration like a Tonka toy. In light of the recently-ended Iraq-War, Kim used this opportunity to go to the highest gear & stepped on the gas, to intensify the pursuit of nuclear establishment, with virually no definitive international opposition, other than trade & aid sanctions, which did not hurt Kim but rather the people of North Korea.
Even at the brink of his nation being starved-out, as a result of famines, financial-failure, as a result of no economic-growth, and the whole world demonizing him & his policies, Kim still managed to come out on-top, with his nuclear program in-tact, along with six confirmed nuclear war-heads, and still, the fifth largest military in the world, at 1 Million strong to-boot.
The death of Kim has placed a lot of suspicions in the air, as to whether North Korea can still sustain itself, without it’s most dynamic, powerful leader to date. Kim’s son, Kim Jong-un is the most likely to take the reins of leadership. However, even so, does his son, if he were to succeed him, have what it takes to withstand the onslaught of political & economic isolation, along with constant fear of potential attack both militarily by his Asian neighbors and/or international opponents? none of this is known to us.
All & all, Kim Jong-il was, in fact, a political giant-For better or worse, love him or hate him, he was a dominant presence as well as a prolific figure in the modern-politics of our times.